On 2nd January,1975 , God played a prank on my family and instead of the eagerly awaited boy , I was delivered as a belated new year gift.
Not everyone was disappointed though.My papa was the happiest man on earth that day.Soon,months faded away and I was one year old.He was super excited to celebrate my first birthday but became an object of ridicule with family and friends saying,”Have you gone crazy?Who celebrates a girl’s birthday?” That’s the kind of society I set my roots in, hoping to bloom despite every adversity.My papa nurtured me with all the tenderness and love which surpassed everything else.
I , on my part,was a sincere,studious child who made him proud with my academic achievements.
I was an introvert to the letter “t”.I studied all the time and read books in my free time . In effect,I was never seen without a book .I studied not because I was pressured or I wanted to prove myself . I studied because I loved it.Did I hear you say,”What a nerd!” Yes,you are right.That’s what I was.But,then,to everyone’s surprise,I fell in love in the very first year in college and this time not with books but with one of my classmates (who is my husband now). Despite,all the distraction and usual drama of a teenage affair,I secured 3rd rank in my post-graduation in Microbiology and got selected as a part-time lecturer in the same university I did my post-graduation from.Head of the department wanted me to do my PhD under his tutelage along with the lectureship.He was generous enough to make my teaching timings flexible enough for that.
But,life had other plans for me.
You all have heard people say “Love is blind”. I would rather say,”Love makes you blind,deaf and dumb”.My husband-to-be got commissioned in Indian Army and I gave up my job and got married.
Everything was great and I thought I had no regrets.But, you know,when you think you have got the grip on life,it slips out of your hand with a wicked grin on face.
Life didn’t throw lemons at me,but the whole jackfruit.I got hit but stood up,put on a brave face and started chopping it.But it wasn’t that easy and I ended up bruised and hurt.
In the years that followed , I not only lost my confidence and self-esteem but my papa too.
I was working as a teacher(I never wanted to be a school teacher,just for info) wherever we were posted but there was something missing.An overwhelming feeling of worthlessness was choking me.I tried to dismiss it as mid-life crisis but it was too strong to ignore.I would cry over the efforts I had put in studies,the pride of always being a topper and my passion for research.It was like,I had lost my individuality.
Unfortunately our education system isn’t flexible enough to let you pursue your career whenever you want.Everything can wait except the time to make your career.And by the time I realized this,it was too late.
To kill time,I started posting short stories as comments on FB posts of a literary page and also wrote tweet sized tales for some other FB pages. They were appreciated and I felt good about myself.
But my life took a new meaning when one of my students introduced me to Haiku,a Japanese poetry form.He not only kindled a passion for it in my heart,but also added me in the group of renowned haiku poets of India for which I’ll always be indebted to him.
Before that,I had no inclination towards poetry .But,this form intrigued me and like a sponge,I tried to absorb whatever those poets spilled in the group.
Till date,more than 25 of my haiku have been published in various Indian and International haiku journals and I have won a few haiku competitions,have got honourable mention in some,and have been selected as featured poet too. I was lucky to find a new direction while going downhill on my journey of life.
But,I have learnt my lesson in a hard way.A successful career is not only important to lead a comfortable life but also to make you believe in your worth in this chaotic world and to make you smile with contentment when you sit back and think that you are putting your potential to good use,doing your bit in making this world a better place,fulfilling your parent’s dreams and setting a good example for your kids.
When I look back at my journey,my resolve strengthens that I’ll not let my daughters make the same mistake.I want them to live their life on their own terms.But,also,I would want them to connect with their inner voice.It’s the voice which will guide them to their dreams.
Through this medium,I want to shout out to all the girls reading this,
“Realize who you are and what you are worth and don’t settle for something which will make you feel incomplete later on.It’s NOT OKAY. Though there is no age to learn or do something new, yet seize the time when you have the energy and resources to chase your dreams.Don’t hide them in that corner of your heart which you seldom visit.There is a spark in all of us,stoke it. You get to live only once.Make it count.”
Thanks for Reading